Selina Boland tackles the winds of winter and the chill of life on her cathartic new acoustic album, The Cold
When it came time for Selina Boland to put pen to paper for her first new album of material in four years, she drew information from many things. From the stinging frosts and the chill that comes with both life and our harsh Newfoundland winter.
Heartfelt and Frigid
Yes, Selina Boland is back with her emotional, impactful and overall awesome piece of business, an acoustic solo effort lovingly titled The Cold. It’s heartfelt and frigid and sees her stripped to the bone, in an album dedicated to the memory of her late mother, Newfoundland singing legend Laverne Squires.
“I dedicated this album to the memory of my mother,” Boland shares with The Herald. “She used to sing The Cold (the single) with me and harmonize with me in the living room. She really liked it.”
Recorded in December in her drafty Victorian home in downtown St. John’s, The Cold is an album Boland felt compelled to finish, even in spite of the drop in temps reflecting the albums themes.
“It was recorded in December and I was freezing for the whole month. I live in an old Victorian house downtown and I’m on the top floor, which is basically the attic. It’s an old house with poor insulation. I basically recorded it in my room with the wind howling outside. Between takes I’d run back to my bed. It’s like ok, I have to do this, and I’d jump up and do vocals and run back to my bed. It was hard.”
For Boland, the writing process comes more as a flood than a slow drip. She tackles songwriting head on and in the moment, believing inspiration is best savoured when fresh and vivid.
“I never sit down and say ‘I’m going to write a song today!’ It’s something that happens and it kind of flows through you. It’s very spontaneous,” she explains.
“If a song doesn’t come to me all at once I don’t keep it. We, songwriters, have all written thousands of songs, hundreds, and I only take the ones that are fully done immediately. It has to be done in the moment. The whole thing has to come through me – the courses, the bridges, the verses, everything. I don’t sit down and think ‘what am I going to write about today?’ Don’t do that, ever. It’s a cathartic process.”
Catharsis in ‘The Cold’
The Cold is perhaps one of the more cathartic writing experiences of Boland’s career, a batch of songs turned album that she didn’t envision seeing the light of day, initially.
“I didn’t know that The Cold was ever going to be heard by anybody. It was just something I wrote privately … It’s basically about abandonment. It just came from a raw place and it came all at once.
“It was just something I needed to do. It was like closing a chapter for me, like writing a journal,” she adds.
“I don’t know if anyone keeps a diary or journal regularly, but they’ll feel like they need to write in it once every month. For me it’s like every Sunday I write in my journal.
“For this album it was like an entry that was hanging over my head that I hadn’t actually written yet. It was like I really want to do this, I want to document this.”
The year 2019 may only be a quarter deep, but it is fixing to be a potential career year for Boland. This acoustic collection will be followed by a full length, fully produced album, with Boland set to tour Europe in July, with dates in Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands.
Reflecting on the teachings and inspiration of her mother, one of the more influential vocalists in Newfoundland music, she shared that she’s honoured that many see shades of Laverne Squires in the work of Selina Boland, though she endeavours to be her own artist.
“My mother had a very deep, haunting voice when she sang. It’s also a challenge to try to find my own voice in that. I know that I sound like her on this album. The Cold, especially, I can hear Mom’s voice in my head. That’s great, but at the same time I want to find my own voice. I don’t want to try to imitate my mother, but I also do have some of her qualities, the same vibrato in my vocals. That’s how she would influence me.”
Closing a Chapter
For Boland, The Cold is a closing in the chapter of her life, but also the birth of something new, a fresh start and a new wrinkle in a career that is only beginning to take shape.
“I realize that you have to make it happen for yourself,” she says. “It’s easy to wait around and hope that some opportunity comes to me, but I just realized that it doesn’t. You make absolutely everything happen.”
The Cold is available now online at selinatunes.com and through digital streaming services and at Fred’s Records and wherever local music is sold.